Allison Benedikt is a liberal "journalist" and writer/blogger at Slate magazine. Slate was founded in 1996 by Michael Kinlsey, formerly of another liberal magazine, The New Republic. Some of Benedikt's articles are incredibly moronic and she is the managing editor of something called Slate's Double X, supposedly a female "gabfest" that brings together the commentary of "today's woman" to spout their liberal feelings. Generally speaking, it is a forum for women to espouse such liberal virtues of not having children, of having unfettered access to abortion should you find yourself with child, and- God forbid- what to do with those things should you actually go through with that hellish nine months and have a child.
Some of the contributors to Double X are people named Jessica Grose, an author, who has railed against raising children "to win," that only the rich can afford to have children (although one could not tell from the birthrates of the poor), and about how women should be covered for morning sickness when pregnant in any health care program. Then there is Amanda Marcotte whose area of expertise seems to be scouring the Internet for any story regarding abortion, connecting the dots and coming to the conclusion that the pro-life movement is involved in a vast conspiracy to limit abortion. Let's see- pro-lifers being against abortion. What an astounding revelation!!
Benedikt herself weighs in on occasion. Most of her screeds basically follow the what seems to be the gist of Double X: (1) don't have kids, (2) have an abortion if you do get pregnant, and (3) if you have kids, then raise them a certain way. Unfortunately, the "columnists" at Double X seem to not understand one very important point. If women stopped having children for whatever reason, there would not be any more women (or men) to continue the species. Admittedly, the commentary in this area is not without merit. Since it is likely that only liberal feminists read this stuff, then liberal feminists deciding not to breed is a good thing for the future of America. In short, the Allison Benedikts, Jessica Groses and Amanda Marcottes, among others, would die a natural death of their own doing. Regarding the abortion option, that too, I admit, should be on the table for liberal feminists of this ilk. However, once that child is born- should they decide to go that route- then how they are raised, and the suggestions from the folks at Double X, are truly disturbing.
Take, for example, the one article about raising your kids "to win," which seems to be frowned upon by the feminist left. This was actually an interview with a sociologist who was studying competitive sports and whether it leads to advancement later in life, a conclusion that the researcher found evidence for along the way. However, throughout the interview, Jessica Grose seems to steer the conversation towards aspiring to a better life is somehow not that great of an idea. In fact, she seems to frown upon the fact that middle class parents are enrolling their children in competitive sports at an early age because it might give them a leg up on other competitors for scarce higher education dollars. If you read between the lines, she believes that the middle class should just stay put where they are.
Which brings me to Benedikt and her recent "manifesto" which states that you are a bad person if you send your kid to private school. I am not reading between the lines here because that is the title of the article. She starts with the bold statement that if every parent sent their child to public school, then public schools would improve with the caveat that such improvement would take generations to achieve. In the meantime, she argues, the mediocre education your child, or grandchild, or great grandchild receives would be worth the educational payoff when you are long buried in the ground.
She then goes on to state the obvious given the gist of her argument- she did not receive a good public education, that it did not prepare her adequately for college, and that she did not do that well in college. But, alas, she "is fine" because she writes for Slate. In short, she proves the adage that an inferior public education generally turns out an inferior product, in this case, people like Allison Benedikt.
Saying that we all want the best for our children, she then dismisses that argument because your child will "do perfectly fine at a crappy public school." And if your child is a genius, then they will do especially fine at a crappy public school. To put this another way, this is not wealth redistribution, but student academic achievement redistribution. That is, take the generally smarter kids from private schools and force them into public schools and you automatically raise the standards at the public schools.
Benedikt makes some really preposterous claims in this article. For example, even in a school with "crappy" (she seems to like that word which would indicate a feces fixation) academic programs, your child can gain more benefits in life by sitting next to a poor or minority child. She even makes the preposterous claim (confirmed by her articles) that getting drunk with trailer park kids taught her more about an outlook on life than, say, reading Walt Whitman.
Then she brings it all home at the personal level saying that her colleagues who send their children to private school want the same thing for their child's education as the average person in the local public housing complex. While there is no doubt there are "concerned" parents living in public housing and they may even be minorities, there also no doubt that single-parent households are an epidemic in low-income and minority neighborhoods. Thus, other things compete with a concern for the outcome of their child's education and they cannot necessarily (or do not want to) be more engaged in their child's education.
Yet by the same token, these very same people- those who are concerned- are denied the ability to break the negative cycle of poor educational outcome and send their child to a school that does succeed. At the end of the day, Benedikt is arguing the fact that parental involvement in their child's education is the best predictor of a positive outcome and I cannot disagree with that. However, Benedikt's solution is to force those who actually show concern and opt for private schooling back into the public school system. In this way, the "crappy" public school is now only "semi-crappy." Except it does not work that way, even in the multi-generational argument she puts forth. Her solution is to drag the good down in the hopes the bad will be driven up. In statistical terms, of course this would show up, but in the real world sans statistics, the individual academically successful child will simply be made into a mediocre child while the unsuccessful child will remain unsuccessful or, again hopefully, become mediocre.
Benedikt's solution is not public school improvement, but a policy of mediocrity for all. Her argument is against choice for parents on where they send their children to school. It is a racist policy where minority children and parents are denied the very opportunities affluent white families take for granted. She and her kind want to keep low income and minority children on the failing public education plantation and then force the rest of the nation onto that plantation. Learning more about life getting drunk at 17 with trailer park kids may work for Allison Benedikt, but one cannot survive in the world if they can't do basic arithmetic, coherently construct a sentence, or fail to read the menu at your local McDonald's.
Which brings me to the biggest hypocrisy of Ms. Benedikt and the fine folks at Slate's Double X. It always strikes me as rather amusing that people like her are fine and dandy when it comes to reproductive choice. Double X was very vocal during the Texas abortion bill debate and, like other liberal outlets, elevated state senator Wendy Davis to liberal sainthood status. Which is itself kind of funny. What "miracle" did Davis perform? The bill passed rather easily. Ironically, Ms. Davis herself later made the ironic comment that politicians should not use abortion to advance their political careers. Really? That takes guts to say something like that since before her vaunted failed filibuster, the national liberal media knew little of Wendy Davis. But I digress... You see, to the radical, liberal feminist like Allison Benedikt, choice is all well and good when it comes to ending a pregnancy before that little future raper of the environment and such is born. But once born, choice is completely off the table. Once you make that decision to actually have a child, then the liberal will step in and tell you how to raise that child: where to send them to school, what they should be taught, how they should be taught, what sports they should play, what foods they should eat, how they should act and speak, what they should aspire to in life, etc. And incidentally, it takes a concerned parent- preferably parents- to raise a child, not a community. Let's lay that fallacy to rest, please.
It is good that people like Allison Benedikt are, for lack of a better phrase, anti-child. If they were all like that and they actually followed through on their beliefs, then nature and attrition would take care of their kind. In the meantime, exposing their hypocrisy and their double standards, not to mention their stupidity, is the battle to be fought. To those parents who send their children to private schools (and those who aspire to do so, but cannot), you are not bad people as Benedikt asserts in the title of her article. If so, then we need more bad people like you. What we need less of is people like Allison Benedikt.